Difficult times frequently set off a frantic search for a quick fix. Discussion and findings must be digested before their implications and application to the real problems can be recognized. This will take us back to our own wisdom and experience to find the particular solution within the priorities and resources of our Board.
Our actions will be grounded in our philosophy regarding decision making. While the governing regional board must ultimately make and be responsible for decisions, this will be done with maximum input from teachers, other employees, administration, parents and citizens. This assures greater wisdom in the making of decisions, and greater success in their implementation.
Money matters......I know you share with me a sense of urgency regarding education funding. The sense of urgency comes from several sources - funding concerns validated by the recent acquisition of our budget profile from the Department of Education; mandate cuts of twenty-two (22) teachers reflecting our contribution to the provincial decline in student enrolment; the consensus at the Department of Education to deny the Acost pressure@ of energy consumption; the arguable identification criteria of the small school factor; the absence of the extra money - $30,000,000 - requested by the Nova Scotia School Boards Association to help bring our province up to the average level of educational revenue enjoyed by the rest of Canada and the challenge to provide a quality education for our children by accepting inadequate funding for the second year in a row. We and our stakeholders must think together about what these urgent messages mean and how we are going to respond.
First, we should announce the good news. The Hogg Formula will not be meddled or tampered with this year. Let us hope that if a review is caused for next year, that it will be on updating data rather than changes in the equitable and fair distribution of provincial funds.
The Nova Scotia School Boards Association has asked the government of Nova Scotia to add 30 million dollars extra a year to the education budget in order to draw us closer to the funding commitment of other provinces. But there has not been the combination of political will, revenue and consensus on the specifics to address the critical demand on our schools to educate all students to a world-class level.
An interesting situation that acts as a barrier to convincing people of our need for more resources is that we continue to achieve so much success with the money we do get. This is a credit to our regional board, our administration, our diligent staff, our cooperating parents, our sympathetic communities and our devoted students.
Our teachers and staff have changed the lives of thousands and thousands of children and changed forever the future of our province and the world. These students have been given the opportunity to empower themselves in order to avoid continued poverty, joblessness and the desperation that leads to crime and violence.
Meeting these challenges is the right thing to do. These kids are our kids! They have a right to be prepared, and we need them to be prepared in order to sustain our province and our nation. In the recent recommendations from the 'Teacher Education Review ' , it was stated that a communication package would be put together towarn students to stay away from becoming a teacher because the market in Nova Scotia does not need them. We have a higher vision that will allow students to fulfill their dreams so they can serve the greater community of Canada.
After all of the efforts of the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board - partnering with Cape Breton University, three presentations at the Review Panel, collaboration with the community M.L.A.'s, and echoing the voices of forty thousand parents and families, we come up short. The forty (40) teacher candidates at Cape Breton University will remain at forty. Our request was to have a geographical consideration that was available to other populated densities , that would create one hundred and thirty (130) seats at Cape Breton University and make available opportunities for our students to be educated in our community and allow those who have the dream of becoming a teacher to complete that desire.
Back to our monthly theme dedicated to parents and children within the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board's communities.......
Educators are issuing a call to parents to get involved with school and get to know the teachers responsible for their child's learning. Pointing to the extensive research which affirms the importance of parental involvement in the academic success of their child, school administrators are asking parents to take the initiative in getting to know their child's teachers. School officials urge that contact be made early in the school year so that a working partnership between teachers and parents can be created to nurture the learning of each child.
Research studies report the benefits of a parent-teacher liaison in the school success of children of all ages. Significant data exists to show that students from primary to high school are impacted when parents and teachers have a working relationship. Results from research show that academic learning improved, social behaviour and relationships were enhanced, and antisocial and inappropriate behaviour deceased when parents were involved in a partnership with their child ' s teachers.
Educators are abundantly aware of the dilemma facing many parents who might want to be involved in the education of their child. Today's society has produced the two-parent family in which both adults have busy careers. Single-parent families are often headed by a worker who must hold more than one job to survive. The parents are often stressed to the limit and have little time for an additional involvement. Educators are offering the thought that parents can perhaps establish new priorities to allow some time to get to know their child's teachers and establish a line of communication that will be beneficial to the child's learning.
Part of getting to know a child's teacher is becoming aware of the background preparation that is required for teaching. Today's classroom teacher is the product of four or five years of university education, covering his or her specific subject area as well as methods of teaching so that students learn. Many teachers have advanced degrees, and all are required to pursue advanced education in their field so that they can bring to the classroom the most accurate information that is dictated by the rapid expansion of knowledge. Parents should ask teachers to share their professional goals so as to know more about their philosophy of the importance of learning.
Parents are urged to take the first step in getting to know the teachers who are responsible for their child's education. As a part of this initiative, it is urged that lines and methods of communication be established so that cooperation can be an outgrowth of shared information focussed on a common goal. Parents - the child's first and most permanent teachers - can support and give encouragement to current teachers as they work together toward the common goal of successful learning for the child.
Busy parents and dedicated teachers cannot do the job alone. There must be involvement, mentorship, and support from interested community members. Contact your local school to learn how you can get to know the teachers in your school and encourage them in their efforts.
Madame Chair, I would ask that you and other board people read the attached Superintendent's Memos section along with the comments and reports from school site administrators. You will be delighted to read the many and myriad accounts of teachers, staff celebrations & achievements.